Good measure

The sign said “Pick Your Own Strawberries.” We had driven by it a couple of times, and we had meant to go. What could be better than homemade strawberry shortcake?

We used to have strawberries in our own gardens. With deep regret, we gave away the last of our strawberry plants last year. Until we can build some raised beds, the delights of fresh strawberries are not worth the price we paid in aching backs. Thinning the beds, weeding, mulching, and then harvesting the juicy red berries was frankly just a lot more work than we felt we could handle.

The strawberry bed started with only five plants from a sweet old lady in a neighboring town, after Gary (the Yard Boy and dear husband) preached for their congregation one Sunday. There were no strawberries that first year, but the plants sent out their distinctive spidery runners, at the end of which were new little baby strawberry plants. In two years we had more than we needed!

Over the years, hundreds of plants were shared with any and all who would take them.

Then this week, one of the people who had been a recipient of some of our extra strawberries asked us to come over for strawberry picking. She had several gallons of berries ripening and no more room in her freezer!

We spent a pleasant evening in her lovely garden, teased by the scent of the nearby lavender, collecting berries in both our stomachs and a very large container to take home. The next day, we were pleased to enjoy a breakfast of the delectable gift berries, and then later, strawberry shortcake complete with whole grain shortcake and real whipped cream. All without weeding and mulching!

We, of course, thanked the giver profusely for the strawberries. She responded by thanking US for the plants! Well, what do you know… It really was “pick your own strawberries!”

“Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure — pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return” (Luke 6:38, NASB).

A similar blessing occurred with one of my favorite vines. My Chickabiddy didn’t make it through the unusually bitter winter. Fortunately, I had shared seeds of this purple flowering vine. Someone had started plants and was happy to share two plants back to me. I was ecstatic!

I have been in the position to re-share gifts, too. One beloved elder at a church where my “Yard Boy” used to preach had shared some lovely cannas with us. They grew and multiplied even after we moved away. Years later, his canna plants froze, and we were privileged to be able to share them back to our dear brother.

It never occurred to me ten years ago that I would be harvesting berries from plants that I had shared. Giving blesses the giver in so many ways! There is an indescribable feeling of joy when you can see something good happen with something you give or share.

“He who is generous shall be blessed” (Proverbs 22:9)

It is truly more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).

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